Every job has benefits and risks attached to the tasks that make up the day and to the work environment. When it comes to office work, a particular set of circumstances produce a particular set of potential physical and psychological outcomes for your employees.
Most office environments require a person to be seated at a desk looking at a computer screen for long hours. This means that if you want to maintain the health of your workforce alongside smart scheduling, you need to invest in office ergonomics – which is especially important if you have staff working from home or are when running operations remotely.
You offset negative outcomes for your team by implementing a risk assessment process starting with a Hazard and Risk Assessment.
What Are Office Ergonomics?
So what are office ergonomics? Ergonomics is the applied science of arranging and designing all the components in the workspace to promote optimal efficiency while addressing individual safety. Correct ergonomics will help workers avoid musculoskeletal disorders produced by the activities and movements required to complete their work.
Office ergonomics is generally concerned with investing in worker health by ensuring that the equipment used in the workspace is designed, placed, and used in ways that minimise repetitive strain and sedentary disorders – and protect the eyes.
There are some specific guidelines that you should follow regarding office ergonomics, so we have laid out some important factors here that you should consider when you are looking to protect your office team from workplace injuries with smart ergonomic choices.
Read on to understand five ways to improve your office ergonomics, minimise safety risks, and keep productivity on track with a Hazard and Risk Assessment.
Choose Ergonomic Office Furniture
Because office work is largely carried out seated, the first step towards improving office ergonomics is to provide a well-designed workstation. Pick chairs with adjustable height options, lumbar support, and armrests to offset the risk of back strain and general discomfort.
Eight-hour and ten-hour office chairs are specifically designed to provide long-lasting comfort and support, so your staff can stay physically comfortable. They can help prevent back pain, muscle fatigue and discomfort.
Another smart way to improve office ergonomics is to offer adjustable desks so that employees can spend some part of their day working from a standing position.
Encourage Regular Breaks
Sedentary work can take its toll even if you have carried out a hazard and risk assessment and made certain that chairs and desks are well suited to the needs of your team. So alongside addressing furniture for ergonomics, you need to provide opportunities for staff to get active during the course of the day.
Taking a meeting outside, implementing a stretch break or working other movement activities into the day are all ways to ensure you reduce the potential risk of musculoskeletal injuries among your staff.
Provide An Ergonomic Keyboard And Mouse
Ensuring that the keyboard and mouse are properly placed so that a more natural posture can be used to type is one of the items you might address with a hazard and risk assessment.
The optimum placement is to keep the keyboard at a 90-degree angle so the wrists are able to remain straight and relaxed. Supplying your employees with an ergonomic keyboard and mouse designed to incorporate wrist support can minimise the incidence of harm to workers through repetitive strain injuries.
Optimal Placement of Monitors
A hazard and risk assessment will allow you to identify whether your monitors are placed correctly. Utilising an adjustable monitor stand or mounting arm, keeping monitors around an arm’s length away and ensuring that the neck and shoulders are able to remain relaxed as work is undertaken all work together to minimise strain caused by improper monitor placement.
Create A Soothing Lighting Profile
Harsh overhead lighting, glare from sunlight and shadows or flickering light on workscreens can all result in damaging eyestrain. Providing specific task lighting options, allowing your team access to adjustable lighting and ensuring a balance between natural and artificial light will all be useful in reducing eyestrain.
What Is A Hazard And Risk Assessment?
In New Zealand, a Hazard and Risk Assessment is necessary for every business – it’s written into the Health and Safety at Work Act (2015). The bottom line requirement for your business is to reduce your risks to as low as reasonably practical; in order to do this, you should complete a formal risk assessment.
A hazard and risk assessment enables your company to understand the risks involved in a task, process, or piece of equipment. It assists in developing controls to reduce the risk of injuries. Drawing up your risk register involves identifying and documenting controls you have in place to offset risks.
You should also have procedures to reassess, review and monitor your risk policies and procedures across time. This allows you to pivot as things change and enables you to track where improvements to your site-specific safety plans or hazard and risk assessments may be implemented.
Risk control can be a long and involved process, and writing up a solid set of documents is invaluable for your business.
Unfortunately, many businesses don’t have the time or the knowledge to ensure that a proper hazard and risk assessment is undertaken; this means it often falls by the wayside, which is dangerous for your employees and can compromise your reputation and your financial success.
A formal Hazard & Risk Assessment carried out by an outside party is the smart move to protect your valuable assets. Building a compliant safety culture and creating a visible, ongoing health and safety process at your company lets your employees see that you value their health and well-being – and that’s good for productivity.
Smart Safety Solutions are trained professionals, and we can complete a comprehensive risk assessment and implement control and monitoring processes, ensuring you always comply with your obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and will know where corrective actions should be taken.
Get in Touch
Smart Safety Solutions are here to help, so if you want to do things right regarding office ergonomics and protecting your people, call us and book a formal Hazard and Risk Assessment today.